08 August, 2012

Arasaka Corporation Ltd.


The Arasaka Corporation is the primary antagonist of R. Talsorian's Cyberpunk RPG.  I love this game. It was pretty much all I played in junior and senior high school.  I've been continually amazed at how prophetic both Cyberpunk and Robocop have been over the last twenty years. I noticed when the Pittsburgh Police started driving Ford Tauruses. The rise of the PMC and Blackwater. The Citizen's United verdict greatly increasing the rights and powers of corporations, and the financial disaster precipitated by virtually unchecked corporate greed.  A decade of warfare leaving millions dead, and thousands of veterans disabled; The rise of advanced prosthetic technology, biofuels, and near universal computing access.  We live in the dark future.

Of course the game (written in 1988 and set between 2013-20) has had some misses as well. Fax machines are not the epitome of digital publishing technology. Hacking is still more Wargames than Tron. And true cybernetic prosthesis are awaiting the nerve-circuit connection.

This has left me with some choices in running Cyberpunk.  I don't want to run it as written - it's too retro.  Revamping the timeline and pushing the action into the 2050s or beyond is a possibility that, I think, engenders a more sci-fi mise-en-scène bordering into transhumanism. The option I'm left with is an adapted modern setting... merely a couple years in the future. The world is as it is now, a bit darker, with more cyberware (no full 'borgs, cyberpsychosis is still being identified), and technology and equipment that we see everyday - perhaps a more than a little inspired by Millennium's End. I think of this as the Robocop version of Cyberpunk.

The more I think of this the more appropriate it sounds. The first edition of the game was set in 2013 - next year!  A low tech campaign requires very little modification to adapt it to the modern day.  My favorite miniatures (Copplestones and EM4) have a rather modern look, and mix well with my fleet of modern vehicles. Such a setting requires less preparation for a adult rather than teenage players - who have less time to read background. It's now, but with robotic limb replacements.

So I guess I have some work to do... What stays the same, what changes, what needs to be added, and what dropped? Do we play with Interlock, or with Savage Worlds powered Daring Tales of the Sprawl or Ghost Protocol rules?

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